Thanks to everyone who left comments on the old posts, it was really nice having some kind of feedback when i was posting them that way. It ended up being ill paced I think to the format, so I was not surprised it seldom got a lot of traffic, but some days a good 50 to a 100 people would come and read the whole story! And some of you left very encouraging and flattening notes. You guys helped me keep feeling positive about this project through many darker days and hopeful what I was doing would find a wider audience. Also thanks to Larry Cruz who helped me come up with a great way to describe the narrative style I’ve been trying to develop with this story. I’ll be continuing to use this for some time I expect! :)
“Dream Life is one of those weird comics … It’s more like an orchestral piece, only you allow the artwork, rather than the music, to buffet you through the emotional highs and lows of each movement.”
[link] - Larry Cruz - One Punch Reviews – 4 out of 5
I’m working on getting up a gallery of art that will be on offer as a reward to post in the next day or so. Already two of my 90′s era pages are taken! Encouraging.
I’m going to be working on the two covers so i can get dummies of each version of the book made soon, the limited run of 90 books for the Indiegogo backers, and the Launch edition for TCAF and beyond.
I’m going to be contacting some other shops including those that have stocked Revolver in the past, but right from the start I can say it will be available at The Beguiling, The Dragon, and Strange Adventures.
But that said I really hope I can entice to get the books direct from me via this kickstarter! You can get a full sweet of all three issues of Revolver, and Dream Life for just $50 and help get a nice handful of copies made for the big launch! The same set of books, and a couple more issues of Revolver, AND a downloadable copy of a really cool album [more to come in a separate post about that shortly!], are also on offer as a grand digital option!
So close to getting so many things done, I kind of feel like there’s a brick about to fall on my head or something!
Just being dramatic but after all the hurdles getting this stuff done. Still some big one’s left to go too…
Got the last of these scanned a couple days ago, inking them by now. The rest of the book is done. These six wordless pages go in the middle, to help give PJ some room to breath as a character. She has one of the most intense narratives in the book. I’m hopping this will help put some of the pieces in place. Looking, here, think it works.
Have to get them done tout de suite! Inked and tones. Also got edits in from Mark for Dracula and the rest of revolver three. Some writing and curating to do too for the backers edition of Dream Life. Get some new quotes. Boy it’s all going to be tight! But once the art’s in the bag i can start some big wheels rolling. [Time shifted post].
So right this second I’m constructively procrastinating a bit before starting in on the last 6 pages of Dream Life. Check out some glimpses of that on Instagram here. The FB page could use more likes too. The last six are a final, all new scene I decided to add after a proofing of the book. And then it’s actually done. O_o
Looking ahead there’s going to be a lot I have to do still!
I start a new session of my Dynamic Drawing class as well, teaching once a week. Looking forward to it but an added challenge. Meanwhile I’ve got some back mater to curate and write for the backers edition for the indiegogo drive. Cover for that is already mostly done, and the template for the Launch edition. I’ve also got Revolver vol 3 completed, it’s going through final proofing and edits. I think I may rewrite the forward once again. But a lot of stuff is getting, done. It’s a nice big pile. Scary too sometimes.
The plan is to have them all printed and present at TCAF. A launch proper for Dream Life my latest graphic novel, along with a full suite of self published Salgood Sam, with Revolverone to three. Financing all that, definitely a challenge on the current income. Scratch that, probably not on.
I’m thinking I’m going to try the killer app that is a kickstarter style drive as pre-sale and focus point of a big promotional effort to get word out about the books. Have some number crunching to do and a lot of planning. Some quality time with a calendar too. Probably have to do it in two months time latest! So while getting the packaging wrapped up and teaching! Hah. Ok, this will be fun. Hey anyone tells you self publishing is no trouble…punch them.
No not really, i’m not into violence. But kinda…
So no call to action for that just yet, but expect one. In the mean time, I would like to encourage to you pick up the first two Revolvers. And now to show off a little of the art from both Dream Life, and Revolver Three. Please share this with people, help raise the flag?
Dream Life has been a really,
really long running labour of love.
The story of five friends. Dreams, drugs, & denial all failing to weather the arc of life unscathed. Each coming to terms with lives peter panned, and in danger of going off the rails.
It’s received some recognition as a web comic, and support from both grants and crowdfunding! Damn I feel like I really milked a luck goat on this one. It is in fact, not even the whole book I had in mind. So I really hope people like it, so I can make the second half, or two-thirds almost I suspect! That would be wonderful.
The Launch edition will be a 161 pages of story, B&W, 8″x10″ trade paperback. My longest work to date, and most significant solo effort. Not necessarily important to anyone else but me, but I’m pretty pleased with that. :)
This spread comes from a scene in the later half I really like. It’s a work of contemporary fiction, with healthy doses of magic realism, & influenced by cinematic neorealism. There’s a Pulp Fiction inspired subplot, and several interwoven storylines. I hope it to be an engrossing and lush reading experience.
I’m so glad I drew Rob Ford into this shot a year ago or so, very fitting.
So far Revolver has been a critical success, but slow seller, in part because there is only one me and I still have to spend most of my time drawing. Not to beat a dead horse but that’s something you could help with big time! Find me on twitter here, and RT about the books!
Revolver Three is going to be an exciting one for me, as it contains two all new stories, drawn mostly in just the last half a year.
I’m starting a new series of short works to collect, caled A Bastard’s Tale. Here on the left is a page from that. They run together but are meant to work as short stories too. Tailored to the anthology series format. It’s a memoir, about my father Lionel, and growing up in a counter culture.
My first attempt at something this intensely personal, and frankly scares the shit out of me eh? Hah. But I feel like having thought about it for a long time, I’ve finally found a way into how I would enjoy sharing some aspects of that story. I was thinking of it at first as JUST a book just about Lionel, my father. But I realized in the end my way into that story was via my POV, so that would be an honest way to do it and it provided me with a good starting point finally. Often a big hurdle, that first step. A Bastard’s Tale is going to be fun as I have a more open pallet in terms boundaries on my drawing styles and techniques.
The bulk of the third vol of Revolver will be given over to something else, completely different…
Dracula Son of the Dragon
In early 2013 Mark Sable and I had a successful Kickstarter to finance the production of the artwork for a new story, Dracula Son of the Dragon. A 60+ page novella, first in a series of 4, that i’m serializing in B&W in Revolver in quarters as I complete it. Part historical fiction, part horror fantasy, chronicling Vlad the Impaler’s transformation into the vampire Dracula.
Revolver Vol Three marks the launch of the series with the first installment. Backers for the Dracula Kickstarter are digital subscribers for the most part, who get an early bird link for their digital subscriptions. So i’m really keen for them to all get their first look at what their support helped get done. That’s 300+ subscribers already! The final colour printed collection of Dracula Son of the Dragon is going to be late, but at least it will appear in some form at TCAF 2014 in Revolver three!
While the two projects are very different, there is also an interesting synergy between the these installments of both, featuring a young boys relationship with his father. Unplanned but cool. There’s also an assortment of pin ups and comic jams again, I really tried to curate an enjoyable reading experience. I want Revolver to be the best of me. Something I can hold up with unqualified pride of craft.
I included an informal query about the digital subscription when we started collecting info from backers, and so far i’m very pleased with the number of thumbs up! So thanks for that, and your amazing support!
So that’s what’s up with my comics and stuff! A lot eh? Tell me about it. And tell your friends too OK?
Hah, that would be just my luck, as i’m finally getting half a hang of promoting myself publishing ventures at something approaching the pace it seems to take to get anyone to take your seriously online or noticed in the torrents of updates, the game would go and change from under my feet.
Being buddhistly inclined I liked a lot of what he had to say about applying mindfulness to your work in the digital sphere. I do try to do just that as much as my mind will allow. Also think I spotted some impracticalities too. Share Jim’s concern about the narrowing of focus and echo chamber effect [something he mentioned in passing in the interview].
Over time I do think they count more. But when you’re still one of many, and growing numbers of creators trying to raise awareness of our work, and have as eclectic a reader base it seems I have, I’m not sure how much liberty I have to choose to overly narrow band broadcast. I feel like on the edges of your media domain you need to have fairly fast moving streams to match the pace of the rest of the web, to draw in readers to your core presentation. I don’t post on the blog here rapidly. No way I could keep up with a even once daily rate that Warren thinks of as a lower gear, while maintaining a good level of quality of content, and keep on top of my artwork. Beyond the usual challenges of content creation being dyslexic makes the process of writing and proofing laborious.
But Facebook, mypages, and twitter, G+ to a degree too, I can post small bits of thought or just promote other people’s stuff – something I agree with Dean Haspiel about being a important and valuable role to play, not just as being a community builder but also being someone anyone cares to pay attention too as well. Rather than someone who only talks about themselves?
I suspect some aspects of the slow web Warren and Jeffrey talk about is in part the privileged cruising gear of those who’ve established themselves. For those that describes It makes a lot of sense to economize your efforts.
At this point I follow the feed-back, post more where I find I get responses and less where I don’t.
Never was all in for twitter, it’s always been a semi-automated branch of my blogs. Don’t have a phone attached to my hip so it was never practical for me and too much of a distraction from the drawing table.
For the moment I get far more attention to my work on Facebook than anywhere else. My computer is seldom far from me so when I brake to pace around, grab a coffee, or set up a show to half watch, I often check in and poke around, like or share something, post a bit of work i’m in the midst of.
I tried promoting a couple of posts on Facebook recently connected with RevolveЯ. They got a lot more views but I remain unconvinced if it helped all that much. I did notice that you have to watch it with that, need to look closely at how the options are laid out for you when you set up a promoted post. Seems like a default was to keep promoting and charging after the budget I had set was spent. Not sure what to make of that but I was not pleased to find I was getting charged again without first being asked. As is too often the case it feels like communicating is not FBs strong suit. Incidentally it’s been amusing to watch as twice as many people who’ve added me as a contact in the past 6 months, did so in the last week on Flickr post instagram TOS fiasco. All good, welcome to all. I was never on instagram so works for me.
Speaking of attention…
Having a hard time getting some key comics news sites to pick up my press for RevolveЯ. Others have, but a few of the key players are being tough nuts to crack. Another round of press needs to be done, hoping I can get more traction in the new year. Wondering if I rubbed some the wrong way along the line or something? For sure not really being part of the convention circuit has not helped. Last show I did was TCAF, and that just as a civilian. Ran into one former editor I once worked with who now blogs, it was kind of awkward, as is to happen at these hectic things, but has not replied to an email since?
Be nice to go to more shows and have more fluid relations with the comics diaspora at large, have a chance to build solid friendships in person. But my lack of funds aside, when am I supposed to make time for that and still draw my books, and do all the other shit we have to do ourselves these days eh? Would love to, but we have to have a successful book first. For that we need the book we have to get coverage so people know it’s there to order or buy. A dog and tail game.
Best is if the word gets out more virally, and becomes something the diaspora can’t ignore. If you’re reading this, do us a favor and check out the book if you have not already, mention it to a few someones, share it blog it and if you’d like to review it contact me about that, be glad to oblige. I have lots of visitors and followers these days but outside a core group not enough sharing what they find to get that fantastic fractal spreading pattern going yet. Needs more cowbell!
On the other hand and not to seem to only gripe, I have had some nice windfalls!
Making it a more entertaining experience than planned I got nailed by the flu about 6 hours before the interview, vomiting all over the place very suddenly and sending my poor Ange into a cleaning frenzy. Managed to clear out the pipes and get it together to do it all over the phone, thanks to some nice editing, I even sound totally coherent.
So that’s me for the year probably. Couple more retailers on board and some new distribution channels about to come online for RevolveЯ. I’m running behind on RevolveЯ Two right now due to last minute editorial decisions on my part, and the feeling like the slow moving soft launch is progressing well, but has not reached the sweet spot for the next Minimum Effective Dose. The next book dropping and it’s associated press releases, to help crank the series forward. Taking the time to color a story and add another to make it all that much cooler, less ignorable, and put it out in January instead of this month as I had planned originally.
Keep your eyes open for a kickstarter project from me and Mark Sable too in the new year.
As work on Dream Life book one gets done i’ll be jumping directly onto a story we have planned.
Wrestling with the layouts now of act 3. And some work on Vlad as well. Going to try to get out and walk every day, then sit and treat myself to something hot and sketch page layouts. Plan for the week . [23-27/01/12]
Been mulling over plans with Bryan and folks about what to do for Sequential’s 10th anniversary, problem for me is I’ll have less time than usual this year to give over to producing the magazine. Need to find a designer[s] and funding solutions if Sequential Pulp is going to happen or be a part of the festivities. Anyone interested in participating should drop me a line. I’ll be posting a more formal note about this on the site later in the week.
How ya been? I’ve been busy, doing shows like TCAF always take it out of me.
Takes a while to get back into the routine and catch up. I warmed up by rebuilding my home web page here, like the new look. Really converted to WP in a big way [have five sites working on the platform now] and i’m loving the themes from graphpaperpress.com [this is one with a few small mods and so is this and this]. I’ve installed wpStoreCart, working on building one now, wondering what kind of things to sell? Would love to have some feed back from you all. I’ve got posters and some books to start, anyone interested in that? What other sort of things would you be interested in?
The newest edition of Carte Blanche is up – I’m the graphic fiction editor there. For lucky #13 we are happy to present a special feature on CRISIS. There’s a lot of great stuff in the issue, including two excellent graphic fictions stories by some heavy hitters.
And from James Romberger, of ‘Seven Miles A Second’, ’2020 Visions’,
‘Bronx Kill’, and ‘Aaron and Ahmed’, we are very proud to present
a 16 page short story, called ‘Raymond’.
We had many other excellent submissions we couldn’t accept,
but i’m pleased to present a few of them on Sequential HEREinstead!
That’s two pages of my own comics and 5 other short stories!
PS: My editor In chief says we’ve not gotten enough feed back from the comics crowd yet so if you check out the site, take a second to tell carte blanche what you think about about it by filling out their short readers’ survey.
Just transferred this from my camera, it’s The Blocky Thing from Dream Life. All to aprorately as I was walking to the cafe to enjoy some AC, i was listening to this, Anime – the philosophy of Japanese animation on The Philosophers Zone [2010 repeat]. Interesting show, and relevant to the sketch by the fact that The Blocky Thing is very much influenced by the films of Hayao Miyazaki.
Getting the 3rd edition of Sequential Pulp together kept me pretty busy running up to TCAF – our special limited print edition of the Canadian comics blog Sequential. It was Available exclusively in the pulp at TCAF 2011.
Unfortuatly there was a small problem with the printing, the dimensions got miscommunicated, and the local intermediary didn’t follow through on requests to see a proof of the printed book so this was not caught before the day of the festival. So the free print edition we presented was a diminished 5.5″x8.5″ mini format zine rather than a full size 8.5″x11″ mag as planed. I was to say the least, disappointed about this. But other than a couple of the cartoonists who’s lettering was made almost illegible most people were pretty cool about it, few seemed to care. But all the same for myself and any one who might be interested, i’ve uploaded a file to magcloud and in a couple of weeks you’ll be able to buy a full sized version of the 32 page magazine at about cost for $6.50 + shipping. In the mean time though it’s also on issuu, so you can enjoy it here/there!
UPDATE: You can read my TCAF reporting on Sequential here now, along with all our other special coverage! It was a pretty great show, but FYI i have lots of prints left and would be glad to sell you some and/or my books!
Well, that clearly didn’t work! Wow, a majority, crap. No wait, better, a majority on about 40% of the vote. Damn we really need to have Preferential voting.
OK, well enough of that, life goes ON! Tomorrow after I run about picking up my last minutes, me and the lady get on the bus and head off to my old home town for the best comic festival of them all, TCAF!
I will not have a new book, but I will have art to sell, be up for doing sketches, and I’ll have a pile of cool new posters–see samples in the slide show BELLOW--and copies of the best of my published books! Dream Life vol 1, RevolveЯ One, Ghostbusters, Wonder Woman, and Therefore Repent!
This year I’ll be in the TX room, here’s a map of the main floor –>> showing where our space is and a detail shot <<– showing where to find ME, and the all others as well. Going to be fun, my first year at TCAF with the gang, looking forward to it!
SA: Do you think the future of comics lies in digital media? SS: I don’t think it’s the whole future, but I do think it’s a big part of it. The internet proper is a great entry point for new talent to stretch their legs, get feed back, and learn if they care to. And for more experienced creators it’s a good place to prove something publishers are normally wary of taking a risk on, like unconventional and maybe demanding approaches to pacing and plot. And building an initial interest in a project.
Also, I’ve solely promoted my work online as a comic artist and illustrator, since 1998 or so. And I’d say about 80% of my income has come from inquiries via that.
Then with the new incoming ‘App’ market we have something that may well offer a viable alternative to periodicals, and the problems of overhead and distribution the direct market is struggling with. It’s got a built in monetary stream so that solves that issue, and the new tablets, e-readers and net-books offer an increasingly comfortable reading form factor. Too early to say anything definitive about it but it’s looking pretty viable. Any problems with it I see are more questions of execution and problem solving, than innate obstacles. —>
And as editor at carte blanche I have a shop talk blog post today, catching non-comics readers up with the evolution of the medium over the last 10 years, and adressing the nomenclature of comics, sequential art, graphic novels and graphic fiction.
What I still think of as comics has been going through a time of great change and growth.
When I decided to dedicate most of my time to making them in high school, it was in part because I was being kicked out, and comics were something you didn’t need a degree in. In truth, there were no degrees to be had in comics. If you wanted to learn more about the medium, you studied art, writing, and film, and extrapolated from these different media. If you achieved a professional level of skill there was little worry about competition; I landed my first paying jobs at Marvel after just one serious attempt to get work in the early 1990s.
While I was developing my own skills out on the edges of the scene in the late 1980s, the then lone journal of comics, inventively titled The Comics Journal, called for our bastard medium to be taken seriously by critics, and urged creators to take what they did seriously in order to bring the standards of their work up to where they might merit that attention. —>
To answer one critique/question, “Sometimes, though, his focus on the imagery can be detrimental. I felt key details (like character names) were unnecessarily banished to the margins of the blog post. Shouldn’t this information be incorporated in the comic somehow?” – Yes, it just has not happened yet.
This is a totally fair point. As a web comic with one page a week going up, the pacing is slow enough i felt it was a good idea to add some notes. But the story was plotted for a book, where you would get to later pages where people address each other by name in a natural context as fast as you feel inclined to read the pages. It crossed my mind this could be a problem online, but I didn’t want to add cheats to the art itself, hence the notes.
I’d also say it’s actually a very story intense comic but the way i’m building it up, and with what has been posted so far, i can totally see how it would seem the story is secondary at this stage. Hopefully El Santo stays tuned long enough to see it come together. Muchas gracias for the attention Señor!
For some great tips on where to find the best comics on the web go check out his site.
Word’s out so i can squeak now, Dream Life is amongst the web comics nominated this year for the joe shuster awards!
Got some tough competition, but makes it all the more of a complement. The awards will be given this year at a public ceremony in Calgary, Alberta on the evening of Saturday, June 18th, 2011 at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo which takes place June 17-19, 2011. Haven’t worked out if i can make it to the event, will be looking into it over the next while. Be nice, got a lot i’d like to do this summer, going to have to find someway to pay for it all. Here bellow is the Outstanding Web Comics Creator list of nominees, quite a few friends in there. Also my friend Kalman got a nod for his lovely cover work, and gentlemen Jeff Lemire who’s been getting a lot of good heat of late, got a few more nominations in a few categories to put under his belt. Check out the full list on the JSA site ici.
Outstanding Web Comics Creator(s) /Créateur(s) Exceptionnel de Bandes Dessinées Web
Got a bit of nice press the last 48 hours, lot of people tweeting up the comics, thanks KarlDwight and Jack to name a few instigators.
Also the guys at Robot 6 have been really supportive of Dream Life for a while now, posted a nice little thing about the start of Act 2 here.
Here’s an interview a did in November last year. Local radio show Les Mystérieux étonnants posted the clip here, I’m part of the longer post. I’ve made a short version highlighting my bit that you can watch here. As usual i’m less than happy with my ham-fisted responses, hard to be as eloquent as i’d like after talking to teen fan boys all day. My voice was pretty blown out by the time Benoit talked to me here. Slurring my words a lot. Also already was starting to feel the nasty con-bug setting in by this time, laid me up for a week after. Ug.
That’s what I get for shaking that 15 year old Rorschach’s hand.
One thing i feel like clarifying is, i’m not exactly against genre, just letting it drive the story. And the rather blatant leave little up to the imagination put it all out there way it’s written in American Comics a lot of the time. Was talking with Ange about this, we watched the new Being Human series shot here in Montreal.
A good theater friend of her’s is in it, Alison Louder, playing Josh the werewolf’s sister. We watched the BBC series pretty avidly, and comparing, the new one is good, i’m liking it though a lot of that is the familiarity, seeing my town on the tube. But you can’t help notice how much faster they are rushing along in the telling. Not taking as long to build up the personalities at all. Spelling things out much more, rather than letting time pass and you just glean things from their happening. More tell, less show than in the original.
This is what seems to happen in most Genre fiction this side of the Atlantic. Probably elsewhere too, but something that makes most of the good BBC stuff good, is their knack for not doing that as much.
And it’s avoiding that i’m most keen on with Dream Life. I want this story to play out, not be spelled out. You know? Anywho, watch the interview.
And last but not least of all, i recently started putting on an editors cap for chores at carte blanche. As such it’s my duty to inform all doodlers, The next Bi-annual deadline for submissions of graphic fiction to be published in the spring 2011 – 13th edition – of carte blanche is March 15th! You have 53 days to submit!
This is the first of a two parter, Kevin tells me the second will go up in the new year. In this part we covered mostly stuff i’m working on now, Dream Life, the rise and fall of it all, etc. We had a rambling talk via google chat, hoping some of the other stuff gets used in part two in the new year….
KD: Dream Life deals extensively with realms of the subconscious, a fact that is reflected in your fluid, shifting, often surreal approach to its art. Where did you pick up this interest in exploring the latent and manifest elements of the human psyche?
SS: It probably had something to do with my upbringing. Carl Jung was a huge interest of my father’s, and to quote one source, he was a ‘legendary acid dealer’, so the whole ‘consciousness-twisting’ thing was a pretty big part of my landscape growing up. My father died when I was really young, and there’s a whole host of ideas that he was really into that I was sort of indoctrinated in before having a chance to be conscious of that. Later in life when I started reading up on this stuff myself, it was kind of weird recognizing the stuff I read from my Dad talking about it when I was a kid.
It’s Christmas eve, and Max is running around getting ready for the holiday family trip!
Forgot to update this the last little bit, thought i’d take care of it now. Dream life is going on a short hiatus for the holiday, going to take a bit of time to make some new pages based on changed to the script i just came up with. So this posting is the last page for 2010! Bellow, i give you the page from the week before! [so as to not spoil the end of act 1]